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How to Plan a Wedding

        Money | Financial Planning

The Flowers

You both will most likely be shocked and amazed at the sheer volume of flowers it takes to adorn a wedding. Even more amazing is the cost, especially since you're probably only used to buying small bouquets from a local florist or grocery store. But the right botanical display is a breathtaking addition to a wedding.

When interviewing florist candidates, find out how open they are to working within your budget. The best florist is one that can be creative and provide you with unique yet reasonably priced arrangements. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to extend the flower budget:

  • Use in-season flowers. While your florist can generally get almost any flower you want, in-season selections tend to cost less.
  • Use lots of greenery. For bouquets, you could instruct the florist to retain more stem leaves (requesting, of course, that only unblemished foliage can be used). Or, you could entwine a few perfect blossoms within ivy garlands.
  • Limit the number of attendants. Remember, every person participating in your wedding requires either a bouquet, corsage, or boutonniere. Fewer bridal attendants means fewer costly floral arrangements.
  • Consider tabletop alternatives. Alternatives like balloons mixed with only a few flowers, candles surrounded by ivy garlands, and heavenly scented herb arrangements can lower your floral costs. You might also want to consider renting bonsai or small topiary trees.
  • Use the ceremony flowers at your reception as well. One caution: There may be a slight up-charge if you'd like the florist to transport and set up the ceremony flowers at the reception site. However, sometimes this cost is far lower than purchasing flowers for two separate locations. Of course, you also could ask a friend to be in charge of transporting the flowers and setting them up.
  • Share the ceremony flower cost with another couple. Oftentimes, ceremony flowers are designed to decorate specific areas within the church, synagogue, or temple. This may make it impractical to move and reuse the flowers at the reception. In this case, you may want to try splitting the ceremony flower costs with another couple. Ask the contact person at your church, synagogue, or temple if there is another wedding the day before or after yours. If yes, call that couple, and see if they are open to this huge cost-cutting measure.
  • Simplify. Sometimes less really is more -- especially if your wedding style is particularly elegant or sophisticated. For example, if the bride's gown is a simple sheath, select a bouquet of one dramatic, breathtaking flower surrounded by beautiful ribbon.

As with all of the vendors associated with the wedding, keep a contact sheet handy that includes all the key information about your florist. Use this sheet to record notes from each meeting you both have with him or her. Also create a detailed list of your flower order that sums up what needs to go where and get into whose hands or on whose lapel.

 

Since you've spent all this time picking the right music, musicians, and flowers, you want to make sure you properly document how beautiful it all turns out. In the next section, we will discuss how to select a photographer and videographer.